Speed is important for NFL players, both for providing strong defense and running an incredible offense. A lot
of sports fans think that big guys are always slower than the smaller guys. This isn’t always true, especially for
NFL players, who are some of the fastest runners in the world. So where exactly do NFL players fit in the scale
of fastest to slowest?
The 40-yard dash
The 40-yard dash measures how fast a person can run. It’s mainly used by recruiters when picking new players
for the NFL draft. It measures how long it takes a player to run 40 yards. Since 1990, the NFL has used partial
electronic timing to get accurate 40-yard dash times. The timer is started by hand at the beginning of the dash
and is stopped by an electric signal at the 40-yard line. Players can start their dash whenever they’re ready.
Wide receivers are the fastest runners with an average time of 4.55s. The slowest players on the field are the
offensive guards, who tend to average 5.36s for their 40-yard dash.
How do NFL players stack up?
So how fast are NFL players really? Most ordinary joggers run at 8.3 mph. The fastest NFL players have
clocked a top speed of 22 mph. So even slow NFL players are much, much faster than average Joes, but how
do they compare to the fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt? Usain Bolt’s top speed is 30 mph during his record-breaking
run, or a 3.97 40-yard dash, much faster than anybody in the NFL
Even the fastest runners in the world are slow compared to the animal kingdom. Many animals, including
ostriches (40 mph), horses (55 mph) and cheetahs (61 mph) are much faster than humans.
NFL players are getting faster
NFL players keep getting faster thanks to better training programs. Julio Jones, who weighs 217 pounds, one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL, runs a 4.39s 40-yard dash. 30-year old DeSean Jackson is still one of the fastest
players and started out with a 4.35s in the Combine. A rookie fifth-round pick, Tyreek Hill, has managed to
match the 4.24s 40-yard dash record held by Chris Johnson. Hill displayed an amazing top speed of 22.77 mph
in the 2016 season. We’re very interested to see how much faster these athletes will get in the new year.